Monday, July 6, 2009


Of the many things there are to appreciate about summer around here, fresh produce is certainly one. The area where I live is surrounded by fields and orchards that grow an amazing variety of vegetables and fruit. It's very easy to eat locally in summer. But one big exception every summer is the arrival of the Rainier cherries. I first discovered these delights when I lived in Alberta. Their beautiful blushing colors caught my eye, and their heavenly cherry-creme flavor easily hooked me. They are quite expensive compared to other local cherries, but I always splurge on a bag (...or two) every summer.

I have to confess, I never really looked into their origin, other than to guess, by their name, that they might be from the West Coast area, but this year, now that I have this blog (which I began on July 1st last year) I decided to post about them, and find out more.

Rainier is a cultivar cherry, created in 1952 at Washington State University by Harold Fogle as a cross between the Bing and Van cultivars. Rainiers are sweet cherries with rich creamy-yellow flesh -- it's easy to see why they're considered to be the "cream of the crop." They're very sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain, plus about 1/3 of a Rainier cherry orchard's crop is eaten by birds, so those that do make it to market are usually very dear, selling for $5 dollars a pound or more in the USA and as much as a dollar each in Japan.

If you love fresh cherries, I highly recommend shaking a few extra coins out of the piggy if you see Rainiers at the market. But don't be surprised if you find yourself making it an annual treat. And be thankful we don't shop in Japan!


Poetikat said...

What a coincidence! Did you see my Cherries, Ripe poem?

These ones look really good - now I'll need to go shopping again!


Annie said...

I noticed these at the market last week but did not get any. I'll have to change that decision.

Sylvia K said...

Love those cherries! And, yes, they are the best! Even if I can't buy them as often as I'd like.

Think it's very interesting that we both started our blogs on July 1st, one year ago. Surely has opened a window in my life as I'm sure it has yours! Have a great week!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

I'll have to remember Ranier cherries, Deb. I've never heard of them--but since I'm not much of a cherry lover, I've never paid much attention to the different varieties. I'll check out the Ranier.


Cloudia said...

Love them (and you)


Comfort Spiral

Lin said...

we've been eating cherries for weeks. first in canada and now at home. I prefer the bing cherries but like the ranier ones also.

Shellmo said...

never heard of these but now I would like to try them! I love cherries! I wonder if you can make preserves out this kind?

Anonymous said...

I saw these today at the grocer. In fact, I told my friend they looked a lot like the Queen Anne cherries we loved to eat when we lived in Oregon. I wonder if they are the same.

Today was the first time I have seen them here for sale. We usually only have Bing.

mom/caryn said...

My FAVORITES!!! I'm more than willing to shell out whatever it takes to buy a bag (or two) of them to toss in my mouth. So, so good!

Rose said...

I love these cherries...I have picked gallons and gallons and gallons when I worked at the orchard. And probably ate about that many as I picked!

Sue said...

leave it to you to tell me something interesting about one of my favorite foods!